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About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea boss Lampard: Senior players still biggest influenceby Paul Vegas19 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Frank Lampard is delighted with the influence of his senior players.Lampard says he has the right blend within his squad.”What you need is a strong group and then you see the leaders come from within it. Where we are quite young, the leaders are still going to come and come out of themselves more. That comes with a bit of confidence, probably with being around the first team even more,” he stated.”It seemed to have become a bit cut and dry [from outside], the young boys and the old boys, but I never saw it that way. I always trust in the players and in the squad, and you will rely on them.”Willian scored two in two, Jorginho’s influence and how he is, Azpilicueta club captain and N’Golo Kante, back in and 28 years of age. We need all those players and I expect them to deliver and take burdens throughout the season. Hopefully they’re doing that.”
McAteer: Firmino more important to Liverpool than Salahby Ansser Sadiq18 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool legend Jason McAteer believes the club would suffer more if they lost Roberto Firmino to injury, compared to Mohamed Salah.The latter suffered a niggle against Leicester City, with fans concerned that he would miss game time after the international break.But McAteer believes if they do have to miss an attacker through injury, Firmino would be the more impactful loss.McAteer told The Racing Post: “People have questioned Liverpool’s strength in depth and I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Manchester City’s, but there is cover in key areas.”Take one of their star players out of the team and inevitably it has an impact – it would at any club. But Jurgen has been able to tweak things and bring in different players and look where they are.”The one player I think is indispensable going forward is Roberto Firmino. Forget Sadio Mane or Mo Salah, it’s Firmino who makes the whole thing tick going forward. I think if Liverpool lost Firmino it would have a bigger impact than losing Mane or Salah.”Look at the Super Cup against Chelsea where Liverpool produced two completely different halves of football, the first without Firmino and the second with him. He’s a more important part of the attacking jigsaw than anyone else.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
Man Utd tell Solskjaer plans to bring in four new signingsby Paul Vegas15 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United have told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer they plan to bring in four new signings next year.United have struggled to score goals this season and The Times says the board is willing to remain patient with Solskjaer as they acknowledge the scale of the task at hand in rebuilding his squad.The Norwegian has held meetings with the club’s hierarchy and they will be looking to make four signings next year, including a centre forward.United made three signings this summer, with Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James heading to Old Trafford. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Unai Emery has hailed Mesut Ozil for delivering when Arsenal “needed him to” during a Premier League clash with Burnley.The Gunners headed into a home date with the Clarets looking to offer a positive response to back-to-back defeats in league and cup competition.Ozil’s role in their plans had dominated the pre-match build-up, with the German playmaker having seemingly fallen out of favour to see questions asked of his future. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Emery had, however, stated prior to the game that the World Cup winner still had an important role to play and backed up that statement by handing the 30-year-old a starting berth and the captain’s armband.Ozil rewarded that show of faith with a talismanic performance which saw him play a pivotal role in Arsenal’s first and third goals in a 3-1 victory.Emery told BBC Sport afterwards of an eye-catching showing from a man with a point to prove: “It was a big performance today and afterwards I said congratulations for your work.“Every player showed his quality and their characteristics. We needed him to work to help us today and he did.”Ozil was not the only player to deliver for Arsenal, with the Gunners’ defence standing up well to a physical battle with Burnley’s frontmen.Emery was delighted with the collective showing from his side, as they returned to winning ways courtesy of two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a late effort from Alex Iwobi.The Spaniard added: “It was a tough match. It was difficult because they pushed a lot with long balls and the second action.“But we played well with our body and our character was good. The victory was deserved and in the table we are closer to Tottenham and Chelsea.“I think we won today not because we played well but because every player had a very big commitment.“We knew Burnley are an organised team and were going to push us but we didn’t lose too many long balls from the goalkeeper.“I think we can controlled the match like we wanted. We had to make an alteration of our game plan but after I think our game plan gave us the victory.“We’re scoring lots of goals but we need more clean sheets and our defeat today was maybe that.”Arsenal remain outside the Premier League’s top four at present, but remain very much within touching distance of the Champions League spots as the games come thick and fast during the festive period. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Jamie Vardy scored on his 250th Leicester City appearance as the Foxes ended an 18-year wait for a Premier League win at Chelsea in a 1-0 triumph.The former England striker had been starved of service until clinically finishing a brilliant Leicester counter early in the second half, which ultimately proved enough to clinch a first win at Stamford Bridge since 2000.It was a hugely frustrating afternoon for Maurizio Sarri’s side, who controlled large periods of the game and saw Eden Hazard – one shy of 100 competitive goals for the Blues – hit the crossbar in the first half as well as Marcos Alonso strike the post in the 91st minute when clean through. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Chelsea, who lost a league match at home for the first time under Sarri, consequently head into Christmas 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, while rumours that Leicester were planning on sacking Claude Puel may subside after this much-needed win.The Blues’ play was sharp if lacking in incisiveness early doors, although David Luiz was desperately close to meeting Pedro’s flick on from a Willian corner.1-0 to #lcfc@Madders10 @vardy7 #CheLei pic.twitter.com/mzxhsZi4Ij— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 22, 2018Leicester had an almighty let-off when Hazard pounced on Harry Maguire’s poor control and rifled an effort against the crossbar.Neither team had a shot on target until the 41st minute with Kepa Arrizabalaga’s strong hand keeping out Wilfred Ndidi’s stinging 30-yard drive.Willian tamely struck at Kasper Schmeichel after a fine team move, while Jorginho’s well-hit half-volley forced the Leicester keeper into action again as Chelsea finished the half strong.The Blues were caught cold six minutes after the break, though. Leicester launched a counter-attack that led to James Maddison slipping in Vardy to emphatically fire past Kepa when one-on-one.Schmeichel was sharp to keep out Hazard’s left-foot effort from a tight angle, and at the other end Kepa’s spill from Marc Albrighton’s cross needed swift action from Cesar Azpilicueta to deny Vardy.Leicester’s goal lived a charmed life in the closing stages with Antonio Rudiger heading wide from point-blank range and Alonso fluffing his lines by striking the left post when one-on-one.What does it mean? Relief for Puel, but Blues’ title hopes stungPuel has faced rumours this week that squad disharmony and a return of one league win in six could lead to his sacking, but a big triumph here is a much-needed early Christmas present. There will be little festive cheer for the hosts, though, who are 11 points off the top and stewing over a first home defeat since April.Christmas party time for VardyLeicester fans love to affectionately sing ‘Jamie Vardy’s having a party’ and he had cause for celebration with a typically clinical counter-attacking goal. The Foxes had done little to provide chances for Vardy until his goal, but when it came he did not disappoint. Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell also impressed for the away side.Kante paying a high priceThere is arguably no better defensive midfielder on the planet than N’Golo Kante. But Sarri’s insistence on playing the France international in an advanced position to slot Jorginho deeper in his midfield is not bringing the best out of the former Leicester star. On a few occasions, Kante found himself high up the pitch but lacking the attacking quality to break the Foxes’ rear-guard.Key Opta Facts- Chelsea have failed to find the back of the net in two of their last four home Premier League games, as many as in their previous 21.- Jamie Vardy has scored 13 goals in his last 15 Premier League appearances. – Leicester midfielder James Maddison has created 41 goal-scoring chances in the Premier League this season, more than any other English player. What’s next?The festive season kicks into gear with Chelsea making the hop across London aiming to bounce back at Watford on Boxing Day, while the Foxes will look for another unlikely win at home to Manchester City. read more
Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo as Ernesto Valverde’s side restored their three-point lead at the summit of LaLiga.With Atletico Madrid having won earlier in the day to move level at the top, Barca reasserted their authority as first-half goals from Ousmane Dembele and Messi paved the way for a routine victory at Camp Nou.Messi was again at the heart of the hosts’ best play, his shot being parried to the feet of the grateful Dembele to apply the finish inside the opening 10 minutes. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The Argentina star got in on the act himself in the final minute of the first half as Barca all but sealed the points before the interval.Barca quickly seized the initiative as Dembele pounced to nutmeg Ruben Blanco after the goalkeeper had kept out Messi’s low drive. The visitors narrowly escaped further punishment when Blanco rushed out to thwart Dembele, with Jordi Alba turning the loose ball towards goal where Nestor Araujo was on hand to intervene. Marc-Andre ter Stegen was finally called into action in the 24th minute and the Barca keeper proved equal to Maxi Gomez’s effort. Messi doubled Barca’s lead late in the half, calmly finishing from the edge of the box after Alba’s searching pass had left Celta exposed. Telepathy The Messi-Alba Connection!#BarçaCelta pic.twitter.com/uKYPPnN2WE— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) December 22, 2018Luis Suarez proved uncharacteristically wasteful when presented with a glorious chance to put the game to bed just past the hour mark, the forward shooting wide of the target with only Blanco to beat.Blanco had stay sharp to deny Messi a second in a brief goalmouth scramble while Celta, despite enjoying more of the ball, continued to struggle in the final third.Brais Mendez’s effort had Ter Stegen diving low to his left, but that save was as comfortable as Barca’s whole evening had been. What does it mean? Barca go clear againBarca did not seem to take too kindly to having company at the top of the table after being joined there by Atletico, but this win restored their cushion and provided a fitting end to the year. Celta, meanwhile, remain mid-table.Magnificent Messi does it againHaving played a significant role in the opener, Messi got himself on the scoresheet before the break in a display that highlighted just what a threat he is, cementing his spot at the top of the LaLiga scoring charts.Suarez outshoneSuarez was as industrious as he always is, but while Dembele and Messi both found the back of the net, the Uruguay international’s finishing was wayward, failing to find the target with two attempts at goal. Key Opta Facts:- Messi has reached 15+ goals in LaLiga for each of the last 11 seasons.- Barcelona have scored 102 league goals in 2018, more than any other team in the top five European leagues.- Messi has scored 47 goals in 49 games in 2018 in all competitions, more than any other player from those five divisions.- Barcelona have kept four consecutive clean sheets in LaLiga for the first time since January.- Valverde has not lost any of his 16 games as a head coach against Celta in LaLiga (W11 D5).What’s next?The two sides can enjoy a festive break now and will return to action in January, with Barca heading to Getafe in their first game of 2019, while Celta host Athletic Bilbao. read more
Josh Sargent’s Bundesliga career got off to a flying start in December, and the teenager does not look ready to slow down just yet.After scoring seven goals in 12 appearances for the Werder Bremen Under-23 side, Sargent got his first-team career off on the right foot when he scored in his senior debut with a tap-in against Fortuna Dusseldorf three weeks ago.Now in just his third appearance in the German top-flight, the 18-year-old striker has scored his second goal for Werder Bremen in a 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig. Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? After not getting off the bench midweek in a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim, Sargent made the most of his opportunity in his club’s final game before the Bundesliga winter break.The United States international entered the match in the 66th minute with Werder down 2-0 to Leipzig, with the opportunity for his longest runout as a professional.The teenager wasn’t involved in his club’s opener, as Max Kruse managed to bring his side back into the match just a minute after Sargent’s entrance.However, Sargent got in on the action for Werder’s second goal.Sargent initially held the ball up near the midfield line and laid it off. The ensuing pass was delivered into the path of fellow substitute Yuya Osako, who got in behind the defense.Osako then pulled a pass back into the path of the onrushing Sargent, who hit a left-footed finish off the post and into the net to level things at 2-2 in 77th minute.THE AMERICAN HAS TIED IT! 🇺🇸💪Josh Sargent’s 2nd Bundesliga goal in 3 games brings Bremen level at Leipzig! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/V9xm2OZylR— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 22, 2018Unfortunately for Sargent and Werder, Bruma would re-establish the lead for the hosts off a cross from Marcel Halstenberg. That finish would be the winner, as RB Leipzig came away 3-2 victors.After his goal against Dusseldorf, Werder coach Florian Kohfeldt attempted to play down expectations for the teenager, telling reporters: “We all must be careful what we expect from him. If he makes five, six Bundesliga appearances until the summer, it is a good a year for him.”With two goals in three appearances and a half season to go, it looks as if Sargent has a good chance of reaching that mark as he continues to make a case for continued involvement in the Werder first team.
Inter missed the chance to significantly strengthen their grip on a Champions League place as a stoppage-time equaliser saw them held to a 1-1 draw at Serie A’s bottom club Chievo.Luciano Spalletti’s men were presented with an opportunity to increase the gap between themselves and fifth-placed AC Milan, who were beaten 1-0 at home by Fiorentina earlier on Saturday.The visitors were never at their best, but looked set to claim all three points thanks to Ivan Perisic’s close-range 39th-minute strike, which marked his first league goal since September. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? However, a Chievo side that offered scant resistance provided a late sting in the tail thanks to Sergio Pellissier as the captain dinked over Samir Handanovic, meaning third-placed Inter are just six points clear of Milan in the fifth.112 & 33 – Ivan #Perisic has found the net in Serie A after 112 days and 33 shots his previous one. Recover. #ChievoInter pic.twitter.com/J7OuWfV38f— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 22, 2018Chievo forced Handanovic into action in the first minute, the Inter goalkeeper dealing with an awkward bounce after Riccardo Meggiorini let fly with a long-range volley.Inter slowly took control of the game and only a fine reaction save from Stefano Sorrentino prevented him from turning home Danilo D’Ambrosio’s left-wing cross.Mauro Icardi and D’Ambrosio were involved as Inter broke the deadlock, though, combining down the left to set up Perisic to lash Inter into a lead that should have been doubled when Joao Mario shot wide from the Croatia international’s low delivery.Excellent build-up between Perisic and Icardi ended with the latter thwarted again by Sorrentino at the near post before a rare threatening Chievo attack saw Handanovic brilliantly turn Pellissier’s effort behind.It was Perisic who appeared the most likely to add to Inter’s tally in a game that always looked in hand, but his inability to do so proved costly as Mariusz Stepinski headed on for Pellissier to earn Chievo’s fifth point of a miserable season.| FT Chievo 1-1 InterIt ends all square here in Verona. #ChievoInter pic.twitter.com/n69wqUgLaN— Inter (@Inter_en) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Inferior foe again troubles Inter An inability to beat inferior opposition was Inter’s undoing in the Champions League as a 1-1 draw with PSV saw them knocked out, and that failing reared its head again as their defence was breached at the last. Worryingly for Spalletti, who saw penalty claims for a challenge on Borja Valero rejected by VAR late on, a much tougher test lies in wait.D’Ambrosio a delight Inter’s main threat came down the left from full-back D’Ambrosio, whose lack of a test defensively gave him the freedom to create the opener and set Icardi up for his first-half chance, which would have been decisive had it been taken.Joao Mario makes a meal of it Joao Mario had to stretch to meet Perisic’s centre on the stroke of half-time, but he still had the goal at his mercy from close range and should have found the net. Instead, his miss was one of many chances Inter will reflect on after dropping points to Serie A’s worst team.Key Opta Facts- Inter have failed to win any of their last four away Serie A games (2D 2L).- Chievo are unbeaten under Di Carlo in Serie A current season (5D).- Ivan Perisic found the net in Serie A some 112 days and 33 shots after his previous one.What’s next? An enticing and crucial clash awaits Inter at San Siro on Wednesday when Napoli are the visitors. Chievo travel to take on Sampdoria on the same day. read more
Bayern Munich are leading the race to sign Chelsea attacker Callum Hudson-Odoi, but Goal understands the Bundesliga champions could face competition from Borussia Dortmund, who have also shown an interest in the 18-year-old.Hudson-Odoi is a valued asset at Stamford Bridge, but the youngster is questioning his long-term future at the club despite his age, having earned only two competitive starts under Maurizio Sarri this season.Chelsea are still hopeful that they can tie down the forward to a new five-year contract, as previously revealed by Goal, but a serious offer from a big overseas club could tempt the Blues to cash in on a player who is eager for playing time and out of contract in 18 months.Dortmund’s approach for Hudson-Odoi came during Chelsea’s talks with the club over Christian Pulisic’s availability, with the German side’s offer of a swap deal rejected by the Blues as they aim to tempt the player to put pen to paper on a new deal in January. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? It is understood that Bayern have a clear plan set out to bring the England youth to the Allianz Arena, the Bavarians eager to add some youth to their forward line as veteran wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben enter the final years of their career.Juventus and Real Madrid also retain an interest in Hudson-Odoi, who brought himself to the attention of clubs all around Europe since helping Chelsea’s academy team to a stunning quadruple in the 2017-18 season.The Blues are also keen to hold on to goalkeeper Marcin Bulka, who is regarded as the best young shot-stopper currently on the London club’s books.They have, however, already cemented deals for fellow keepers Nathan Baxter and Jamie Cumming to ensure talent continues to come through between the sticks.
Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel is considering putting himself forward for the proposed director of football role at the Premier League club.Following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure as caretaker United manager got off to a fine start on Saturday, as the Red Devils thrashed Cardiff City 5-1.But Mourinho’s dismissal has also reportedly seen United restart their search for a director of football, a role the Portuguese coach was said to have opposed. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Schmeichel, who enjoyed eight years at the club until 1999, believes the successful candidate must have a clear idea of United’s identity, and suggested he could submit an application despite having very little football involvement since retiring in 2003. “I’m actually thinking about putting my name in there,” Schmeichel told BBC Radio 5 Live .”I really want to get involved in football again at some point. I know I’m getting older, but my life has just turned out a different way after I retired from football.”What’s really important is to get the United culture and identity back.What a difference a smile make Well done Ole and Team, the United spirit was back in the performance today @ManUtd #CARMUN — Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) December 22, 2018 “I would like to see [the job go to] someone who has played there, and can bring some of that Alex Ferguson mentality back in the whole of the football club.”I’m considering if I have the qualities, and if I come up to an answer to that question, then I will put my name in the hat.”I’ll have a good think about this over Christmas and make a decision about it.”Schmeichel spent eight seasons at United, winning five league titles, three FA Cups, the League Cup and the Champions League during his spell at the club. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful Dele Alli avoided serious injury in Tottenham’s Premier League thrashing of Everton on Sunday.Spurs fought back from a goal down to claim a 6-2 victory at Goodison Park, with Alli and Christian Eriksen scoring once and Harry Kane and Son Heung-min each netting a double.The result lifts Pochettino’s men to within two points of second-placed Manchester City, but their victory was soured when Alli failed to emerge for the second half following a heavy challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford just before the break. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Pochettino thinks Alli was fatigued from Wednesday’s EFL Cup win over Arsenal and hopes the England star has not suffered anything major.”He didn’t feel a big problem,” the Spurs boss told Sky Sports. “Maybe [he was] a little bit tired from Wednesday. I hope it’s not a big issue. It was a precaution.”Pochettino added at a news conference: “I didn’t see [the challenge]. I am curious to see the action.”I didn’t want to say because I’ve not seen the video. It was a tough action. We hope it’s not a big issue.”Spurs host Bournemouth on December 26 and Wolves on December 29, before heading to Cardiff City on New Year’s Day.They then take on Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup third round three days later.
Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham have a role to play in this season’s title race after claiming a fourth Premier League win in a row.Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min both scored twice as Spurs ran out 6-2 winners against Everton at Goodison Park.The north Londoners came from behind to win for the 18th time in the top flight under Pochettino, and took their points tally after conceding the first goal to 70. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Victory takes Tottenham within two points of defending champions Manchester City and four behind leaders Liverpool.And despite the calibre of the opposition ahead of them in the table, Pochettino says his side remain in the title picture.“Football is about being consistent, if we are able to be consistent and play in the way we played tonight, yes, maybe we will arrive in April as a real contender,” he told the media.“I am proud of the way we played. “I am so pleased and very proud of the performance and energy we showed today. I am pleased about the result, but of course the performance comes first.“But there is still a long way to go. “We are involved in four competitions, today was a surprise to everyone, not only the quality, but not only the energy to play after a very tough game against Arsenal on Wednesday. “The energy was fantastic after that game.”A presentable run of games gives Tottenham a chance to cement their position in the title race, with AFC Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers travelling to Wembley before the end of 2018.They travel to strugglers Cardiff City on New Year’s Day before the FA Cup trip to Tranmere Rovers and Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea.
Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha believes Zinedine Zidane is the best choice to replace Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.United are on the hunt for a permanent replacement for manager Mourinho, who was sacked by the Premier League giants on Tuesday.Club favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stepped in on a caretaker basis until the end of the season, with United reportedly keen to lure Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to Manchester in 2019-20. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Zidane – who led Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles before leaving the LaLiga side ahead of the 2018-19 season – has also been linked.In an interview with Omnisport, Saha backed former France team-mate Zidane to succeed at the Theatre of Dreams.”For me, I am a supporter of Zidane in relation to the man,” Saha said. “He was an exceptional player, the coach, there is no equivalent.”In communication he has made a lot of progress. When I hear him talking, it’s incredible.”He breathes football, he is a passionate person, who has all the qualities to be respected. He knows how to balance attack and defence.”At Real Madrid, he had three offensive monsters, and he has to make the link with the defence. It’s huge.”For me it’s the best choice for United. I think he will have the support of the supporters, the staff, the president because he deserves it. And we’re going to give him time.”Night, Reds #MUFC pic.twitter.com/dXl0HGR3FD— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 22, 2018Solskjaer led United to a 5-1 rout of Cardiff City on Saturday – the first time the club had score five goals in a league game since Alex Ferguson’s final match in 2013.United remain sixth but only eight points adrift of the Champions League places ahead of their Boxing Day meeting at home to Huddersfield Town. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Benjamin Pavard has denied having an agreement in place which will see him link up with Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019.Ever since helping France to World Cup glory over the summer, the 22-year-old defender has seen his club future called into question.It has been suggested that Bayern are leading the chase for his signature, with it widely reported that a deal has already been done. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Pavard, who remains under contract at Stuttgart until 2021, insists that is not the case.He told Le Parisien: “I have not signed anything with Bayern. “The interest of such a club makes me happy, but today I am focused on Stuttgart. I do not think about next summer.”While reluctant to look to the future, Pavard is prepared to reflect on events of the past.He still feels that France’s efforts in Russia should have earned greater recognition, with the likes of Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann overlooked in the 2018 Ballon d’Or vote.Pavard said of an award which went to Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, who suffered World Cup final heartache with Croatia: “I would have liked to see a Frenchman win it, knowing that players such as Raphael Varane – who is the only one to have won the World Cup and the Champions League in the same year – and Antoine Griezmann had a great years. “They would have deserved it.”World Cup-winning exploits were not enough for that pair, but nobody can take France’s achievement away from them.Pavard played a leading role in their global triumph, with a spectacular strike during a 4-3 victory over Lionel Messi’s Argentina at the last-16 stage set to live long in the memory.Recalling that effort, the highly-rated full-back said: “That goal has changed my life. “Things have gone to another dimension. That goal went around the world. “Before, few people knew me, but since then, things have changed. I am recognised everywhere. I am asked about that goal almost every day.”While Pavard will forever have those happy memories, he is currently trying to avoid making some unhappy ones.Stuttgart have endured a difficult 2018-19 campaign to date and sit just outside the Bundesliga drop zone as a result.
London: Former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson believes the group will reunite at some point in future. The popular British boy band, featuring Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Liam Payne, went on an hiatus in March 2016 with an aim to focus on their individual careers. ”I do think it will happen. I’d certainly have something to say about it if it didn’t. I think it’s inevitable. When is the big question. That’s something none of us really know the answer to at the moment. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger”I feel like what’s most important is that when we do get back together, we’re all on the same page and we’ve all done what we want to do individually. That’s vitally important for when we get back,” Tomlinson told Independent Television News. The singer added that he is ”really proud” of his time in the boy band. ”When I look back on ‘One Direction’ and the memories that we had, it’s only incredible memories. I think we got to a place musically, especially on the last two albums, that we felt really proud of. We started off as a boy band and where we ended up musically was a very different place. I’m really proud of those times, definitely.”
GENEVA – The UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will on Saturday visit Egypt as he kicks off a regional tour to prepare for peace talks on Syria dubbed Geneva 2, his spokesman said.Brahimi will meet Egypt’s foreign minister Nabil Fahmy as well as the Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi, spokesman Khawla Mattar said in Geneva on Friday.The rest of his schedule is uncertain due to various governments being on holiday because of the main Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, but Mattar said “the tour will cover several countries of the region”. This will include visits to Damascus and Tehran.The international community has for months been pushing Syria’s rebels and the regime to participate in talks on a negotiated solution to the conflict, which has killed an estimated 115,000 people since March 2011.Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said proposed peace talks in Geneva could take place on November 23-24.However Mattar said the date for the long awaited peace conference will be announced by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “in due time”.She said the meeting was likely to place in the “second half of November”.Prospects for the Geneva 2 conference remain unclear, with the Syrian opposition divided and due to vote next week on whether to take part.
Tuesday’s match to watch is Italy vs. Uruguay, essentially a must-win duel (for Uruguay at least) between the 16th- and 10th-best sides in the world according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI). A surprisingly close second? Costa Rica-England, which features a group leader and an eliminated team with nothing but pride to play for. In between, there’s plenty of action in Group C, where every team is technically alive and fighting to advance to the Round of 16.Costa Rica vs. England: 12 p.m. EDTItaly vs. Uruguay: 12 p.m. EDTGreece vs. Ivory Coast: 4 p.m. EDTJapan vs. Colombia: 4 p.m. EDTIN BRIEFSee our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.IN DEPTHIt’s tough to overstate what’s on the line in Tuesday’s match between Uruguay and Italy. Both teams are tied for second place in Group D with three points apiece, although Italy holds the all-important tiebreaker with a superior goal differential.Group D’s leader, Costa Rica, won its first two matches and has guaranteed itself a spot in the next round, so there’s only one unclaimed berth left in the group. Uruguay is the favorite to win the match by SPI, about 41 percent to 30 percent (with a 29 percent probability of a draw), and that’s not because of defense. Neither team has been particularly dominant at that end of the pitch, but Uruguay has allowed four goals in the tournament, including three to a Costa Rican side that’s far from a scoring juggernaut.Instead, the odds are in Uruguay’s favor mostly because — theoretically speaking — it has the better offense, led by the sublime forward Luis Suarez. After not appearing at all in Uruguay’s opening loss against Costa Rica, Suarez returned from a knee injury Thursday to score a pair of goals and help sink England’s World Cup hopes. He’ll continue to get support from the passing of Edinson Cavani, Cristian Rodríguez and Nicolás Lodeiro. But Suarez aside, La Celeste has had some difficulty generating consistent scoring chances in the tournament so far, and Uruguay will have a hard time winning if it continues to muster only 8.5 shots per game.Meanwhile, Italy was expected to be in the middle of the pack offensively before the tournament, and it’s played largely to form. Mario Balotelli has been his customarily uneven self; he picked up a goal and caused all manner of havoc against England, then promptly had a terrible game (three offsides, one yellow card and only one shot on target) against Costa Rica. Andrea Pirlo’s passing remains superb, and the Italian offense plays with an efficient style — forgoing crosses in favor of passes through the middle of the pitch — but it’s also had a lot of trouble sustaining attacks in the opponent’s third.Uruguay might not be the best opponent for the pass-heavy Italian style; it’s been one of the best defenses at intercepting passes so far in the World Cup. Watch for the stark contrast between Italy’s ball control-centric offensive game and the more direct Uruguayan style, which sacrifices possession in favor of the long ball, and attempts to win by attacking from the wings and winning balls in the air. Each approach represents one side of a fierce philosophical divide in soccer, and which one prevails will go a long way toward determining who advances out of Group D.It’s worth noting that our World Cup odds list Italy as the favorites to advance despite Uruguay being favored in this specific match. That’s because in the event of a draw, Italy would claim second place in the group on goal differential. An Uruguayan win is the single most likely outcome of the game, but there’s also a 59 percent chance that Uruguay doesn’t win the match and fails to advance. Confused yet?The second-best game of the day (at least according to our method of taking the harmonic mean of the two competitors’ SPI scores) is Costa Rica vs. England. It’s a fine matchup, but the stakes are as low as it gets for both teams. Costa Rica has clinched a berth in the knockout round (and has an 89 percent chance of winning Group D), and England has been mathematically eliminated.The remaining games have some implications for the next round, though Colombia has already punched its ticket into the Round of 16 and Japan’s odds are slim. Greece vs. Ivory Coast offers a bit more to play for: Greece has a better than 19 percent chance of making it to the knockout stage, but SPI also predicts the match to be a dreary, low-scoring affair.YESTERDAYThe Netherlands avoided a matchup with Brazil in the Round of 16 by defeating Chile 2-0 in their Group B finale Monday. The Netherlands’ chance of advancing to the quarterfinals is now 69 percent, while Chile must face Brazil on Sunday with odds of 26 percent. The Dutch would have been an underdog against Brazil, advancing 23 percent of the time.For the first 75 minutes Monday, the Netherlands struggled to get opportunities, completing two of 16 passes into the attacking penalty area and creating four total chances. Then in the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time, the Dutch completed two of four passes into the attacking penalty area, creating two chances and scoring on both. Substitute Leroy Fer gave the Netherlands the lead less than two minutes after entering the match with just his second touch of the game.The Netherlands struggled not only on passes into the box; Dutch players completed 63.9 percent of passes overall, their worst rate in a World Cup match in at least 50 years. In their first two wins, the Dutch completed 78.9 percent of their passes.Chile had the majority of possession, with 657 touches to the Netherlands’ 395, but couldn’t get anything going in the Netherlands’ penalty area. Chile managed seven shots, one of which was on target, and had less than 2 percent of its overall touches (13) in the attacking penalty area.Part of the trouble could have been that Chile was fouled 26 times, the most in a match in this year’s World Cup. Forward Alexis Sanchez was fouled nine times, two more than anyone else this tournament.Later, Mexico and Croatia were scoreless through 70 minutes, and Mexico was poised to become the first team under the current tournament format to advance to the knockout round scoring exactly one goal. But then El Tri scored three times in 11 minutes to propel Mexico to the knockout round and a matchup with the Netherlands.Two of Mexico’s three goals came from headers — a rarity, as El Tri scored two headed goals in its past two World Cup appearances combined. Mexico’s third goal came from Javier Hernandez, who’s come off the bench in each of Mexico’s three matches and ended his career-long scoreless streak for his country Monday. His goal was one of 21 scored by substitutes this tournament, the most ever in a group stage (substitutes were first allowed in 1970). — Jacob Nitzberg, senior stats analyst, ESPNOFF THE PITCHBelieve it or not, Italian food just wouldn’t be the same without its relationship with Uruguay. Although the country is known for its carb-heavy offerings, the roles of meat and fish in the Italian diet can’t be discounted. According to 2012 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 45 percent of Uruguay’s exports to Italy were bovine meat, followed by frozen fish fillets, at 16 percent. Follow the trade route in the opposite direction, and Italian exports to Uruguay run the gamut. They’re mostly concentrated in machinery — sewing machinery, tractors, furnaces, etc. But perfumery, cosmetics,and eyewear play a noticeable role as well. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Italian trade if it didn’t include pasta, of which Italy sent a healthy $2.4 million worth to Uruguay. — Hayley MunguiaFURTHER READINGAdvancement Scenarios For Groups C And DWatching the USMNT on Copacabana Beach in RioWorld Cup Pass & Move: I Can’t Believe That We Did Draw!
The AC Milan Brazilian legend has said his fellow countryman will have a “bright future” in the Italian Lega Serie ACampeonato Brasileiro club Flamengo and Italian Lega Serie A side AC Milan are currently negotiating for Lucas Paqueta.The footballer will be transferred to the Rossoneri in the January transfer window.And many have compared Paqueta with former AC Milan Kaka.“He’s a player who has a bright future ahead of him,” the former midfielder was quoted by Football Italia.“He’s already been called up to the Brazilian national team, but it’s better for him that we don’t make comparisons.”Serie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“I’ve seen so many of them in recent days, with me, with [Alexandre] Pato, with Ronaldinho, Cafu, Rivaldo… with all the Brazilians who have been part of Milan’s history,” he added.“We need to avoid these comparisons so he can come here and play calmly and peacefully. I’m confident.”Would Kaka ever return to AC Milan? This is what he said:“I spoke with Leo[nardo] and Paolo [Maldini]. Right now I’m closest to Milan but that’s all it is, my priority is still to be close to my family, Luca, and Isabella, who are 10 and 7-years-old.”“I’ve spoken a lot with Leo, to try and understand how to become a director, and I’m doing a sports management course in Brazil,” he commented.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 captures the essence of the classic bikes in 1970s.Royal Enfield”We are absolutely 100 percent focused on motorcycles”, says Eicher Motor CEOEicher Motors (parent of Royal Enfield) has no plans to venture into other vehicle businessNext big launches from Royal Enfield are the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650Eicher Motors, the parent company of Chennai-based niche bike maker Royal Enfield plans to fully focus on the motorcycle business after a premature end to its off-road vehicles joint venture with US-based Polaris Industries.Eicher Motors Limited in March 2018 announced closure of Eicher Polaris Private Limited. The duo launched the Multix in 2015 as India’s first personal utility vehicle while sales fizzled out after the initial excitement. This seems to have prompted Eicher to focus on its hugely profitable motorcycle business via Royal Enfield brand.”We are absolutely 100 percent focus on motorcycles, nothing else…Other than motorcycles we don’t have any intention to get into any other vertical,” said Siddartha Lal, managing director and CEO of Eicher Motors in a conference call. Siddhartha Lal, CEO of Royal Enfield astride Interceptor 650 at EICMA showRoyal EnfieldWhen asked about the Eicher Polaris Private Limited and plans to venture into new vehicle business, he replied, “Absolutely (we are) not open to anything…Of course, VECV is the only other part of our business, which is doing very well. We are in the process of winding up EPPL operations.” For uninitiated, Eicher Motors also has a 50:50 joint venture with Swedish commercial vehicle maker Volvo for trucks and buses (VECV) in India.Thrust on Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650Royal Enfield’s next big step to becoming the global leader in the middle-weight segment is the launch of new flagship bikes, the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. Revealed at the 2017 EICMA show in Milan, the new flagship twin will enter the market soon. Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 are brand’s new flagship motorcycles.Royal EnfieldThe Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 are the company’s debut bikes in higher displacement biking segment. Both bikes are powered by an all-new four-stroke, single overhead cam, and an air-cooled 648cc parallel-twin cylinder engine. It develops 47bhp of power and 52Nm of torque mated with a five-speed transmission. It is said to be the most advanced engine by Royal Enfield till date and first twin cylinder motor of the brand in the last 25 years.Among the two, the Interceptor 650 is expected to attract more buyers in India with its classic design. The rear set foot pegs, teardrop-shaped fuel tank, wide handlebar, sculpted single and long seat, twin shock absorbers, 18-inch spoke wheels as well as twin upswept exhausts – these are the features that celebrate the essence of the original Interceptor which Royal Enfield in 1970s when it was a fully British entity. Royal Enfield Continental GT 650Royal EnfieldThe Continental GT 650, on the other hand, is a true-blue café racer which is a quite popular biking style in Europe. The motorcycle gets an upswept exhaust and rear-set footrests in typical cafe racer fashion. A single long seat, the sculpted tank, and clip-on bars complete the look.